Yet Another Veterans Administration Failure

Here is another failure of the VA to take care of our veterans as they are charged to do, and as the VA’s motto promises they’ll do.  Here is another casual dishonor of that promise [emphasis added].

More than 1,000 Department of Veterans Affairs patients in Kansas didn’t get proper follow-up care after initial colonoscopies last year, a problem that was addressed only after a whistleblower repeatedly reported it, according to a government watchdog.
The watchdog found patients didn’t get follow-up screenings on time and when they did, often didn’t get the results in a timely manner because of [a string of excuses].

A Thought on Medicare for All

University of Massachusetts-Amherst Economics Professor and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute, Robert Pollin, had a thought on this.

Of course, so do I.

Pollin opened his tract with this:

All Americans would be able to get care from their chosen providers without having to pay premiums, deductibles or copayments.

No, we’ve already seen the lie in this. We experienced the broken, falsely presented promise with the sales job on Obamacare and the oft-repeated lie that if we liked our doctor, we could keep him and the associated lie of lower premiums.

Disruption

And the widening gyre may be dissipating, finally.

Recall that a Federal judge in the 5th Appellate district ruled rump Obamacare unconstitutional because the tax imposed on not having health insurance was rescinded and the law had no severability clause—making the law itself an unconstitutional demand that private citizens buy something they did not want.

An outcome of this is feared by the NLMSM and Progressive-Democrats to be

particular disruption within the industry as no replacement system would be put in place.

It Isn’t Pro-Choice, Anymore

Now it’s pro-infanticide.  That’s the position of the Progressive-Democratic Party after Party Senators voted—unanimously—to kill a bill that would have outlawed immediately post-birth infanticide.

Senator Ben Sasse’s (R, NE) bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would have required doctors to work to save a baby’s life if an abortion attempt failed and the baby was born alive despite the attempt.  All Progressive-Democrat Senators, every single one of them, voted to kill the bill and thereby to let abortion doctors finish killing the baby.

As Sasse put the situation after those Progressive-Democrat Senators had had their way,

A Judge’s Error

The Trump administration had expanded rules allowing employers to opt out of being required to provide birth control coverage to their employees at no cost to the employees, so long as the opting out was convincingly based on religious or moral grounds.  Federal District Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California has issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the expansion while an underlying lawsuit against the expansion is underway.

Ordinarily, blocking an enforcement while the underlying case proceeds is no big deal, but this one is just plain wrong.  Gilliam based his ruling in significant part on the premise that

A Health Care Coverage Step

Alexander Acosta, Steven Mnuchin, and Alex Azar, respectively Secretaries of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, are in the process of offering one.  They’re putting together a rule that would expand HRAs, Health Reimbursement Arrangements.  These are plans that allow employers to reimburse employees for certain qualified health expenses.  Their expansion consists of two parts:

  • permit[ting] employers to offer HRAs to reimburse employees for health insurance purchased in the individual market—allowing employers to provide a contribution as significant as they would have made for the premiums of a traditional employer-sponsored plan.

Free Markets for Health Care

Here’s an illustration of why one is badly needed.  The Wall Street Journal‘s article is centered on health coverage plans, but the underlying problem is in health care provision and the monopolistic nature of both provision and coverage.

Last year, Cigna Corp and the New York hospital system Northwell Health discussed developing an insurance plan that would offer low-cost coverage by excluding some other health-care providers, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It never happened.
The problem was a separate contract between Cigna and NewYork-Presbyterian, the powerful hospital operator that is a Northwell rival. Cigna couldn’t find a way to work around restrictive language that blocked it from selling any plans that didn’t include NewYork-Presbyterian, according to the people.

A Next Step

A step has been taken to mitigate the destructiveness of Obamacare.  A new rule has been promulgated by the Trump administration that will

allow for the proliferation of cheaper, less-comprehensive health plans that have been restricted by the former Obama administration.

Under the rule, actual health insurance plans will be allowed that cover a range of health-related matters that more closely align with a customer’s interests.  These plans also will be good for a year and be renewable for a total of three years, a drastic improvement over Obamacare’s limit of 90 days.  A further improvement of this rule:

Paying for Health Care

John Cochrane correctly decried the costs of health care in today’s economy, but he has the wrong solution.

Why is paying for health care such a mess in America? Why is it so hard to fix? Cross-subsidies are the original sin.

No, cross-subsidies, “sinful” as they are, are not the original sin.  The original sin is government involvement at all in the form of any sort of subsidy.  Far from the subheadline’s claim that “honest subsidies” (eliding the oxymoronic nature of that label) would encourage competition and innovation, they’d do the opposite, as all subsidies do: they’d suppress competition and innovation by giving the government-favored recipients a government-mandated advantage over their government disfavored competitors, freeing the one from competition’s pressures to innovate and reducing the other’s access to resources needed to innovate—and stifling competition’s engine, the need to innovate to stay ahead of rivals.

AHPs

Association Health Plans are new plans that, by regulation, allow small businesses to band together across industries and state boundaries to form health insurance buying consortiums.  Using this larger size-generated buying power, they should be able to acquire cheaper, better tailored, more flexible plans for their employees, plans that those employees actually will want.

However.

The left says association plans are junk insurance that will blow up ObamaCare.

Some AHPs likely will be; that’s a fact of life in any market, free or centrally planned. However, a free market is self-regulating and quickly so; junk plans will be few and far between.  Blow up Obamacare?  That’s win-win.